The Insider

Feb 2, 2004  •  Post A Comment

“Friends” producers ran everyone but essential personnel out of the sitcom’s Warner Bros. studio home of the past 10 seasons while final scenes of the finale were shot and tears were shed. But on Saturday, Jan. 24, grins were in evidence when several hundred friends of “Friends” alighted on the cordoned-off downtown Los Angeles street in front of the art deco and oh-so-telegenic Park Plaza Hotel for a not-so-final farewell.
The Insider couldn’t get into the media-free party, but she has friends who did. They didn’t tell (or remember?) all, but they shared a little bit about the bash that didn’t shut down until 3 a.m. (At seven hours long, the party lasted almost as long as the finale taping). Produced by Sequoia Productions, the company best known for the Governors Ball after the Oscar and Emmy ceremonies, the party was catered by Wolfgang Puck. Vodka and tequila flowed through sculpted ice sluices at each corner of a big square ice bar.
The entertainment included The Rembrandts, who performed an extended and enthusiastic version of their biggest hit, the “Friends” theme, “I’ll Be There for You,” which went over big with the crowd, especially the cast. Sheryl Crow, whose 1999 album was titled “Sheryl Crow and Friends” and who is, indeed, a friend of Jennifer Aniston, performed a concert-size set.
The guest list afforded a stroll down memory lane with practically anyone and everyone who ever had a connection to the enduring hitcom, but The Insider dares not list a few for fear of offending the many who would not be mentioned.
It is impossible, however, not to note that the former guest stars and current spouses making the party scene included tall Tom Selleck, Ms. Aniston’s hubby, Brad Pitt, and Courtney Cox Arquette’s hubby, David Arquette.
Speeches and toasts aside, the “cold reading” by the cast of the first scene from the “Friends” pilot got a collective thumbs up.
Keep an eye open for Willow Bay, who departed CNN a year ago after one of many lineup tweaks left her without a show to host and report for.
The hard-working Ms. Bay just recently agreed to do general assignment reporting on a nonexclusive free-lance basis for NBC News out of the bureau in Burbank, where she is also known as Mrs. Bob Iger, mother of two boys and author of last fall’s “Talking to Your Kids in Tough Times: How to Answer Your Child’s Questions About the World We Live In.”